We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Sorry mate, I can’t afford to risk giving you a job

The BBC reports that the Labour Party now says, “Give workers full rights from day one.”

Workers should be given “full” employment rights from day one, Labour has said as it announces plans to “fundamentally change the economy”.

Currently some rights – such as being able to request flexible working – only kick in at a later stage.

This would fundamentally change the economy all right. No more probationary periods. No more casual employment of the sort which survey after survey shows most casual employees value for the freedom it gives them. In Labour’s brave new world if you employ someone for one day, you will be stuck with them. In that case, you had better be very sure before you take anyone on. An end, then, to giving someone outside the usual pool of recruits a chance to prove themselves. The safe course for employers will be to avoid hiring women (who might clock in on day one and clock off for paid maternity leave on day two), to avoid hiring young people (who have not had a chance to establish a record of steadiness), to avoid hiring anyone with the slightest blemish on their record, or whose class or race might make them statistically risky, and to stick with employing people who they can size up on little evidence, which again usually means their own ethnic group. There is no need to assume actual racism or class hatred, just the universal human tendency to behave defensively when the cost of making a mistake is very high.

Will Labour also get rid of cooling off periods for people who make major purchases?

Or how about applying the same rules to sex? We know that a set of laws that forbid the very existence of casual sexual relationships can be stable: that was the system enforced for centuries in the West and still is in many parts of the world now. Hence the the saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure”. The aim of those rules is to force all sexual relationships to be permanent, or at the very least difficult to dissolve. They generally succeed in that aim, although there are unintended consequences. While I am all for voluntary fidelity in marriage, legal enforcement of a “marriage or nothing” system results in many more incels, old maids, and people stuck in destructive marriages. I see no reason why rules to discourage casual employment should not work in a similar manner to rules which discourage casual sex. Is that what the Labour party wants?

The state is not your friend… example 57,459

The idea, then, that Boris and his Cabinet would have been able to simply sit there, apparently passively, while the virus ‘let rip’, was pretty implausible once the Chinese and Italians had gone into lockdown. The urge to do things would have been overwhelming. And it remains to this day. Letting the immune systems and common sense of the public take care of matters is anathema to our leaders, because it doesn’t involve them taking bold action or, indeed, doing anything much at all. This goes against the grain of their very psyches: in their own minds, they envisage themselves ‘winning’ in the war against Covid through their brilliant decision-making and uber-competence, and being hoisted onto the shoulders of the grateful populace and paraded through the streets accordingly. They don’t want nature to take the credit which they believe is theirs. In fact, it is pretty clear that they don’t really want the virus to reach natural equilibrium at all – they want to defeat it, preferably through some fabulous scheme.

David McGrogan, an Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School

Samizdata quote of the day

Nothing progressive is ever falsifiable.

Bobby B

Samizdata quote of the day

[The scientific establishment has always had a tendency] “to turn into a church, enforcing obedience to the latest dogma and expelling heretics and blasphemers.”

Matt Ridley

Samizdata quote of the day

Democracy is just another way of deciding who gets to control the available means of collective coercion. Democracy has nothing whatsoever to do with civil liberty, albeit the two get conflated all the time. There is nothing particularly uplifting or sacred or morally superior about democracy, it is just better than most of the alternatives when it comes to deciding when a given cunt has outstayed his welcome in the halls of power. As my chum Guy Herbert likes to say “democracy makes a fine brake but a terrible steering wheel.”

What any system needs is some form of constitutionalism, something that places certain things beyond politics (US Bill of Rights is a nice example, to the extent it still works, which it kinda sorta still does in some ways). There needs to be some form of framework that limits what state power is even allowed to do, regardless of which arsehole is in charge this year. That was why Tony Blair was such a profound calamity, as he essentially destroyed British notions of constitutional limits on state power. Everything is now up for grabs.

Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

“When something is free, only the well-connected get much of it.”

George Gilder, The Scandal of Money.

What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

One of these links will take you to an article in today’s Times by David Charter:

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

Which link is it? It doesn’t matter*. You all guessed right. You had no need to actually read the article to predict with a high degree of accuracy what it would say. You had no need of a Times subscription to know that whatever Texas was doing would turn out to be something far less dramatic than the headline suggests.

I am not going to quote the article even now. Do not feel deprived. As I find increasingly often these days, the readers’ comments are better than the stuff above the line.

A commenter called Dick Marlow says,

I think that this headline is misleading.

As I understand it the State of Texas has decided that it should not enumerate in law incidents and beliefs that 99.9% of Texans accept were both wrong and repugnant. This is not the same as “stops teaching that the KKK was morally wrong” which can be interpreted as meaning the state permits teaching that the KKK was morally acceptable.

This is not what they are attempting to do. They are shifting the responsibility of identifying which unacceptable events need to be taught from the state legislature and shifting it downstream, nearer both the ISDs, parents and teachers.

But you already knew it would turn out be something like that.

Why do they do this? I cannot even say that a clickbait headline lets down a respectable article, since the unknown subeditor has merely re-phrased Mr Charter’s very first line. The Times used to be better than this. David Charter has been known to be better than this. It’s not like they’re fooling anyone: there is a veritable flood of comments saying, no, the Texas Department of Education has not decided to take a neutral position on whether the Klan was a Bad Thing.

What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

*The important question, and the one to which you will not find the answer by hovering your mouse over the link, is which of them takes you to the cute video of a sloth in a boat.

Samizdata quote of the day

Then do we give them back their freedom? Not at all. Then we move the goalposts, making freedom conditional on more and more people getting the vaccine. Until we make it to so-called ‘Freedom Day’, a month later than originally planned, and Boris Johnson chooses then to tell young people that their freedom to do the things they enjoy will be dependent on receiving a vaccine.

A vaccine that uses experimental technology and was rushed through trials without waiting for the full safety data (trials which will never now conclude as the control groups have been vaccinated). A vaccine, or rather vaccines, which the authorities now acknowledge increase the risk of dangerous blood clotting and heart conditions, particularly in younger people. Vaccines for which there are now more reports of fatalities in the U.S. than all other vaccines put together for the past 30 years.

– Will Jones writing about The Great Betrayal

Lockdown Sceptics becomes Daily Sceptic

The name of this website is about to change from Lockdown Sceptics to the Daily Sceptic. I intended this change to coincide with the bonfire of the coronavirus restrictions – the long-awaited terminus – but ‘Freedom Day’ has turned out to be a damp squib. Not only have many of the restrictions remained in place, but it’s been made clear by Chris Whitty and others that any freedoms we’ve been granted today will be snatched away as soon as the NHS comes under pressure again.

Toby Young

I have been supporting the excellent & tireless Lockdown Sceptics & will continued to support Daily Sceptic. Samizdata.net’s sidebar link has been duly updated.

Samizdata quote of the day

The path from…

   “All we want is to be free to love”

to…

   “Bake the cake or go to jail, motherfcker!”

is becoming quicker and more direct.

staghounds

Samizdata quote of the day

[Overheard on a train in UK]

Passenger 1: “Have you seen what’s happening in South Africa? The authorities have let order completely break down. It’s getting so bad even BBC is starting to show coverage.”

Passenger 2: “Yeah, it’s terrible, Natal is starting to look like Portland.

Samizdata quote of the day

I didn’t look too closely when in 2015 a Conservative administration proposed changing the law on gender recognition. A few trans people want more easily to get official confirmation for the new gender they have become? Well, I thought, that’s probably OK. No skin off any part of me.

Then the issue appeared to morph into a different kind of conflict. It had clearly somewhere along the line become impermissible for those who thought that there was something ineluctable about biological sex to say so. It wasn’t whether they were correct or mistaken on the subject that was in question, but their right even to express their view.

A recognisably totalitarian declension seemed to be being imposed: if you said biological sex was real then you argued with the ability of someone who felt they should be the other sex to simply assert that uncontested. That meant you were denying their “existence” as the new sex. Which was tantamount to denying their existence as a human being. Which was close to saying you wanted them and everyone like them dead. Which is the kind of thing the Nazis did. So you’re a Nazi. And we can’t let Nazis publish Nazi thoughts in books. Or speak at universities, or sully our public spaces with their terrible prejudice.

Here I drew the line. I saw people I knew being bullied and harassed for having an opinion on biological sex (actually the majority opinion on biological sex), and even if I didn’t know whether I agreed with them, I knew that was wrong. …

David Aaronovitch in the Times (£), writing about this book by Helen Joyce, quoted by and commented upon by Mick Hartley (not £).